Bodrum - Abbey Travel, Ireland

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Welcome to Bodrum


The popular holiday resort of Bodrum, called Halicarnassus in ancient times, is the South Aegean's most attractive resort, described by Homer as 'the land of eternal blue'. The hillside is covered in painted villas adorned with bougainvillea, narrow streets wind their way down to the sea, and the peaceful setting of its twin harbours offer shelter for yachts.

Bodrum is a mustering point for local boats offering tailor-made daytrips to nearby islands or the pristine beaches and seaside restaurants along the magnificent coastline. From its position between the two harbours, the 15th century crusader Castle of St Peter dominates every part of the town, now home to the fascinating Museum of Underwater Archaeology. The other Bodrum holiday attraction is the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus, the crumbling remains of one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

As Turkey's leading seaside holiday destination, Bodrum is packed with foreign visitors in summer, yet it remains unspoilt and retains its charming Turkish character, perfecting the balance between exotic bazaars, the wailing cry of the muezzin and ancient history, with water sports, sunbathing and a nightlife that is notorious throughout Turkey.

Information & Facts


The blue Aegean waters that wash the beaches of the peninsula on which Bodrum is perched lend themselves admirably to a vast range of watersports, from scuba diving to windsurfing and jet-skiing. Local operators can be found all over the area, renting out equipment, arranging excursions or offering lessons. Aquatic thrills are also on offer at the town's two waterparks.

Those who grow tired of the sea and sand can go hiking; local walking clubs offer programmes (generally not in the height of the summer season when it is too hot). There are numerous ways to get out of town and explore the enchanting villages, bays and historic sites in the area. The Castle of St Peter, Bodrum Amphitheatre, and windmills are all popular attractions. Either hire a car, motor-bike, or bicycle; take a boat/hydrofoil trip; book an organised excursion; a jeep safari; or simply hop on a dolmus (mini-bus). An absolute 'must' is to enjoy a hamam(Turkish bath), complete with massage, to soothe the cares away. The Bodrum Museum of Underwater Archaeology has won many awards for its fascinating displays, including the famous Uluburun Shipwreck.

Turkish is the official language, but English is widely understood in the main tourist areas.

The official currency is the New Turkish Lira (TRY), which was introduced on 1 January 2005, whereby six zeros were dropped from the TL and the sub-unit New Kurush was created. Currency can be exchanged at banks, exchange booths, post offices, airports and ferry ports; banks have the worst rates and highest commissions, but will exchange lesser known foreign currencies. Banks open mainly Monday to Friday, but some are open daily in tourist areas. ATMs are widely available in major cities and tourist areas, but Turkish ATM keypads usually do not have letters of the alphabet on their keys. Most bank branches have ATMs which accept Cirrus and Plus. Major credit cards are widely accepted; the most popular are Visa or MasterCard, but American Express is accepted in many of the more expensive places. Travellers cheques can be exchanged at some banks and currency exchange offices, but are not as welcome as cash or credit cards. US dollars or Euros are preferred. Some pensions and hotels in the most popular destinations accept US dollars as payment.


Bodrum beaches are shingled and can become very crowded during the height of the summer holiday season. The city's narrow streets become clogged with tourists, day and night, during peak periods. Women have complained of experiencing unwelcome attention from local men.


The nightlife on a Bodrum holiday is frenetic and varied, offering not only western-style decadent clubs and discos, but also the chance to sample partying Turkish style at one of the meyhanes(there are several of these local nightclubs on the road to Konacik and Ortakent) where the crowd joins in with the local artiste, singing, dancing, eating and drinking. Most of the bars in Bodrum's mile-long 'Bar Street' (Dr. Alim Bey and Cumhuriyet Street), offer dancing, belly-dancing shows, live music and outdoor seating (often on the beach) with a view of the illuminated castle. For clubbers the main place to be is Halikarnas, one of the biggest and swankiest open-air clubs in the world, where the entrance charge matches the volume of the music and brightness of the laser lights. There are plenty of other clubs, even one on a catamaran that sets sail late at night and takes the party out to sea until the dawn.


Warm, sultry evenings in Bodrum are best spent dining on fresh seafood or local specialities in one of the numerous restaurants. Those who prefer to stick to more familiar tastes will find plenty of the usual popular cuisines on offer too, like Italian, Thai, Chinese, Mexican and European. Renowned as the top place in town for typical Turkish is Denizhan, a little out of town between Konacik and Ortakent, easily reached in a dolmus or taxi.

For excellent Aegean dishes, especially lamb, Epsilon in the old town is hard to beat. The best pizza in Bodrum is served up with a view on the rooftop terrace of Sunger Pizza, while a good blend of Mediterranean and Californian cuisine can be enjoyed at La Jolla Bistro at Xuma Beach. Also very popular is the Secret Garden, near the Marina, where English cooks prepare gourmet Mediterranean fare with flair. The Backpacker Bar & Grill caters to the expat crowd with traditional English food.


Like everywhere in Turkey, shopping on a Bodrum holiday is quite an adventure, with dozens of shops lining the busy narrow streets, mainly from the bus station down to the marina. Touts and vendors offer a variety of local goods, from carpets and kilims to leatherware, gold and silver jewellery, and designer clothing (much of which is fake). Look out for Turkish meershaum pipes and onyx. There is an extensive, colourful craft market in operation on Tuesdays, and a fruit and vegetable market on Fridays. Bargaining is expected and it is customary to haggle down to about half the asking price. In Bodrum some shops stay open late at night, some even all night.

Calcium-rich mineral springs surging over the edge of a mountain plateau for thousands of years has resulted in an intriguing natural masterpiece. The rock formations of Pamukkale ('Cotton Castle') are a series of natural shelves and ridges, terraces that have been turned white from the solidified chalky calcium deposits left behind as the thermal waters tumble into further basins clinging to the cliff edge below. From a distance it appears to be a dazzling white fairytale castle, with a formation of tiers rising from the ground containing warm water pools. The hot springs have been used since Roman times to cure certain ailments. On the plateau is the Pamukkale Thermal enclosing the bubbling 'sacred pool of the ancients', the main source of the springs creating the white terraces, and its mineral waters are open for public bathing. Pamukkale is also the site of the ancient Roman spa-city of Hierapolis, and there are several ruins scattered about the area, including an impressive Roman theatre. It was considered a sacred site for its magic healing waters and was the weekend destination of kings and emperors of the Pergamum and Roman Empires.

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